My world is full of people of different sizes, shapes colors, choices, actions. Some are Christians, some Jewish, some Muslim, some agnostic, some atheist. I don’t look at the categories they fit in, I look at them. I see their faces, their spouses, their children. I listen to their stories, follow their news-feeds, and cheer or console them as needed. They are the people I love, the people I pray for, people I care for and care about, each day.
As a believer, I have been a member of a number of churches over the years. Traditional denominations, non-denominational churches, I have sat in nearly every kind of pew. At one church there was the understanding that you belonged in the same way that a person belongs to a country club or other exclusive organization. When I didn’t marry in 1993, I found myself being treated differently. I didn’t fit as the jilted bride. They saw what happened to me, but they didn’t see me.
I soon left that church and became deeply involved in a church where the focus was to begin where a person was on his or her journey, not try to make them reach where he or she was supposed to be according to so-and-so. I loved the community there. The feeling of family and acceptance. My circle of friends ranged from people who were believers for over twenty years to those who accepted Christ after a few months of hanging out together.
So what, that they couldn’t recite all the books in the Old Testament like I had been taught to do? So what, that they didn’t stop swearing immediately after they accepted Christ? It wasn’t where they were- it was where they were going that mattered. The pastor at the church talked about how our actions, words, or responses to those outside the faith- no matter how far away or how close- was crucial.
Our hands, feet, mouths, and hearts were to live out loud the Gospel of Christ so that those we met would see Jesus and know about Him. We were to put down our lists of what was good and bad and take up Jesus’ approach to reaching those who were seeking Him. To be honest, full of grace, truth-telling people, so that they would hear the Truth of God.
We were no different than the people we meet each day, who are literally dying to meet Jesus. Their ever-living-never-dying-souls need Jesus. We weren’t perfect, we were a complete and total mess when we met Jesus. If you don’t think you were, you are fooling yourself.
Before Jesus I was an anxiety-riddled, depressed, rape survivor, who felt the need to numb herself with alcohol, and who didn’t believe I had the right to say no to a guy since there was nothing to “protect” anymore. I didn’t understand that God saw me as His precious daughter, His victorious pearl, priceless, redeemed, perfect – all because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Now, I see myself as a woman with scars that have become stories, nightmares that have been covered and taken away in the light of God’s amazing grace. I am who I am by God’s great grace and it has had an eternal, undeniable effect on my life, my soul, my eternity, and by proximity- my husband, my sons, my extended family.
So what, that when I met Jesus I was a mess, I was accepted by Him into the Kingdom. So that, my witness to all He had done in my life could be used to tell His story of Amazing Grace. Redemption. Healing. Joy. Peace. Freedom.
O Best Beloved, my heart aches for you to know this grace, this joy, this freedom, that only comes from being washed clean by God. Being accepted into His family, and knowing that you are a precious, priceless, child of God.
Call out to Him today. It’s time to go from so what, to so that!